My name is Barry Allen, and I am the saddest man alive. The title of the episode is “Back to Normal,” but this is not the normal Barry Allen that we met on Arrow years ago. He hates buses and putting on clothes and when his coffee cup breaks, he looks like he’s going to burst into tears.

The Flash team sans Caitlin (because of kidnap reasons), is working tirelessly to figure out a way to save her. It’s pretty impossible since they don’t know anyone else with superspeed to get through the breach to Earth-2, so Cisco just occasionally check-in on her by vibing. Harry is still pissed that Barry gave up his speed. Most of us are.

In Zoom’s lair on Earth-2, Jay-HZ is trying to create some beauty and the beast situation with Caitlin. I think he even shaved and got a haircut? He’s all smiley and polite and tells her to “make herself at home.” He vibrates her handcuffs off like it’s supposed to be sweet. YUCK.

Caitlin calls Jay-HZ “Hunter,” and he gets a memory migraine where he flashes back to his awful childhood. Maybe that’s how Barry can defeat him: Everyone in Central City can just start chanting, “Hunter Hunter you suck Hunter your dad was shitty Hunter and so are youu na na na na na!”

Jay-HZ inflicts some name-cringing when he calls Caitlin, “Cait.” Caitlin is like “DON’T YOU DARE!!!!” That name is only reserved for people she loves. Quick Question: Who else, besides Ronnie and Barry have used the nickname “Cait”? I’m legitimately curious. Gifsets, please!

As Caitlin explores her new “home” (YUCK.), she comes across her new roommates: the man in the iron mask who is totally Wally West-2 and her doppelganger, Killer Frost.

On Earth-1, Wally visits Joe at Central City Police Department. They call each other “dad” and “son” and I try not to cry openly. Wally asks Joe to set up a meeting with the Flash… he’s getting all Roy Harper on us. Joe pulls out the Not-Right-Now-Son card aka the Standard Dad Move. If Wally doesn’t figure out that Barry is The Flash on his own, then I GIVE UP.

Harry Wells finds Jesse because apparently Earth-2 citizens are cellular dead zones. This seems like a plot-point to me, or maybe I’m just looking too much into things and now everything is foreshadowing. He tries to convince his cellularly dead daughter to come back to S.T.A.R. Labs, but she is done with him.

Jesse has built in a new life.. fairly quickly. She has a new apartment with a new, useless roommate who immediately invites in the stranger looking for her. Yes, it turns out to be Jesse’s dad but even Wells recognizes that this roommate sucks and is probably going to die due to her lack of vigilance. It’s also a direct violation of Girl Code: when a man comes around looking for a female acquaintance by name, you ask who they are and what they need. WOMEN GOTTA LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. Not all men are crazy, of course, but a lot of them are… just look at freaking Jay-Zoom.

Harry leaves without his daughter, but a metahuman slams into not-at-all inconspicuous S.T.A.R. van to kidnap Harry Wells. This meta-human is Griffin Grey, and he has Superman-like impenetrability and strength. The way Grey throws himself shoulder first into the oncoming van is reminiscent of Clark Kent vs. the bus during first season of Smallville. The collision activates the Cisco Crash Assist feature, and Cisco and Barry go into Crisis mode. First Caitlin, now Wells. Barry is have a rough time; he calls Iris up for backup because she is part of the team and finally has some non-romantic agency this season(!!!).

clark bus
Smallville’s Clark Kent stops a bus with his body during Season 1 Episode 9 “Rogue”

At Zoom’s lair, the Caitlins talk to each other and formulate an escape plan. Really, Caitlin-1? Don’t let the wide-eyed, overly-trusting persona that the writers have forced upon your character overshadow your intelligence… especially for your trope-y villainous psychotic female counterpart.

As you may not know, I’m a Caitlin fan, borderline Caitlin stan, and her storyline has been frustrating as hell this season. This is the second time she’s been “stolen” by a Bad Guy who wants to “keep her.”

Well, it was a bad idea (of course it was) because once Cait helps Cait-KF out or her cell, the icy bitch betrays her and tries to kill her despite their bonding over their emotionally-cold mothers. Killer Frost’s reason: Jay-HZ didn’t want to kill her because of her face, but she was useless to him alive if the “real” Caitlin was there. So she’s going to steal her identity? Jay-Zoom ain’t playing with that, and uses one of the icicles Killer Frost shoots out to stab the frosty doppelganger in the ice chest. I was really pleased with Zoom phasing THROUGH Caitlin; someone tweeted at us that it perfectly emphasizes the difference between Barry and Jay-HZ.

On Earth-1 Wells’ super-kidnapper Griffin Grey, Meta-villain of the Week, reveals that his super-strength comes with the side-effect of aging at an increased rate. He’s only 18, but he looks 40-years-old and awful. His clothes with his graying  hair (GREY HAIRS?) and his immature desire to invoke revenge on Harrison Wells-1 makes him a very sad, cringeworthy bad guy.

Jesse Quick helps them figure out this information because she’s a genius and basically takes Caitlin’s place which only further illustrates Caitlin’s futility this season with a pentagonal degree.

Iris West with the flavor! You have no idea how excited I was that they gave Iris that line which would usually go to Cisco. (BTW, I’m into Cisco/Jesse: “Jesse, I’m gonna need some of that quick thinking of yours.”)

Joe, Cisco, and Barry track down Griffin Grey to an Ace Chemicals warehouse where they stupidly try to take him down. In the process, Barry gets hit by a metal barrel. THIS PLAN WAS TERRIBLE. Cisco uses some Legend metal from Ray Palmer’s atom suit to reinforce Barry’s supersuit… because Barry Allen is a dum-dum and doesn’t know when to quit. He’s gonna fight with Grey so that all of the energy the metahuman uses will accelerate his aging even more and weaken him. Barry Allen: Human Punching Bag. Barry reveals to Iris his insecurities and his desire to remain helpful.She falls for him even more. Oh, yeah. WestAllen in 3.. 2… 1..

Damn, watching Barry jog along side non-speedy humans is bizarre. They end up at an amusement park because of course that’s where an aging, Benjamin Button villain would have his secret hideout. He whines about wanting to marry his high school sweetheart and losing his virginity and the ninja turtles or something.

CISCO: “Why is it that bad guys always insist on having the creepiest hideouts?”

JOE: “Because they crazy.”

Grey Griffin uses Barry to throw a tantrum, as horribly planned, and ages himself to death. Like that scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the greedy bad guy drank from the wrong cup. Like he was hosting Tales from the Crypt. Like he was the caretaker of Hogwarts.

The team finds a handcuffed Harry Wells (oooooh) and they all go back to the lab, including Jesse. After reconciling and finally effectively communicating their feels to each other, Jesse decides to move back to Central City. Just in time… because Wells has a plan for Barry that will undoubtedly have MAJOR consequences.

SO. MUCH. SET. UP. The most obvious set up is Wally West on the roof, speaking to The Flash to thank him. The Flash has inspired him to be good and do good… this reminds me of when Iris would talk to a masked-Barry, but with less hormones. Wally makes a promise to Flash!Barry to not waste the chance that he’s given him. I’M SO HYPE ABOUT THIS YOU GUYS.

So before this storyline literally explodes next episode, I’d like to leave us all with the knowledge that Harry Wells has a Big Belly Poster in his room.

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